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Why did the storming of the Bastille occur?

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Quick Answer

According to the British Library, the storming of the Bastille on July 14, 1789 occurred as a result of the anger of Parisian citizens, who saw the prison fortress as the symbol of an oppressive monarchy. The crowd also wanted to obtain a supply of ammunition being stored in the building. The event was the beginning of the French Revolution.

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Full Answer

One reason the Bastille had become a symbol of the dictatorial rule of the French monarchy was because state prisoners had been held there without trial. This, along with its stores of ammunition, made it a target of the revolutionary crowds.

The crowds gathered outside the fortress on the morning of July 14 and demanded that the governor of the Bastille surrender the building. The governor refused this demand, and the revolutionaries stormed the gates.

Although the soldiers defending the Bastille killed or wounded about a hundred members of the crowd, the attack continued. Ultimately, the governor was forced to surrender. A small delegation of the revolutionaries attempted to take the governor to a nearby location to have him arrested, but the crowd took him from his protectors and killed him. They carried his head on a pike in celebration of their victory.

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